Sir Howard Bernstein, chief executive of Manchester City Council, has been appointed the most senior North West representative on the new-look committee overseeing project approval for European regeneration aid.
Bernstein is the new deputy chairman of the programme monitoring sub-committee of the €755.5m European Regional Development Fund for the North West. The sub-committee is chaired by Philip Cox, director of local economies, regeneration and European programmes at the Department for Communities and Local Government in London.
The programme monitoring sub-committee for the North West was previously chaired by David Malpass of the North West Development Agency before the ERDF programme was put under DCLG control this month. Malpass has now moved to another role within the European programme.
A separate sub-committee for the Merseyside tranche of the ERDF programme is unchanged, with Cllr Phil Davies of Wirral Council as chairman. Merseyside has its own ring-fenced European allocation as a legacy of Objective One, the programme it benefited from for more than a decade due to having less than 75% of the European average economic output.
Bernstein's appointment cements the Manchester authority's position at the forefront of European policy in the region. Manchester City Council is the lead partner in the new Jessica development fund for the rest of the North West – outside Merseyside – which is due to get clearance shortly.
A total of £19m of ERDF project claims were paid in May 2011, four times the normal monthly amount, as the NWDA sought to clear its books before the transfer to DCLG.